More than anything, Mike De Berdt worked to point others to Jesus. From his ordination in 1962 until his retirement in 1995, he ministered almost exclusively in Japan. It filled him with much joy to see the churches he planted grow and mature and become integrated into the ministry of the Reformed Church in Japan. De Berdt, 91, died May 14.
De Berdt began serving God as an altar boy and choir member in his native Belgium. He initially was a Catholic missionary priest in Japan for a short time before he converted to the Reformed faith. He graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1962, was ordained, and then began serving with Christian Reformed World Missions (now part of Resonate Global Mission). De Berdt planted new churches in eight locations. He also helped bring to completion the work started by other missionaries in four other locations.
After retirement in 1995 De Berdt served a Japanese congregation in the Netherlands for three years. The De Berdts then settled for a few years in Grand Rapids, Mich., enjoying the fellowship of former colleagues. He served on the CRC Interchurch Relations Committee and as an elder at Neland Avenue CRC. In 2012 De Berdt received a distinguished alumni award from Calvin Theological Seminary.
Wanting to be a part of the lives of their grandchildren, the De Berdts moved to Manassas, Va., then to Plano, Texas, and eventually to Winchester, Ky.
He is survived by his wife, Trudy; children René, Mitch, Anne Marie, Amy, and their spouses; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.